Pritchard v Clwyd County Council: CA 16 Jun 1992

The plaintiff was injured wading through a flooded street. She claimed damages alleging a failure to maintain the storm water sewers. The defendants appealed a finding that they were responsible, and she appealed a contributory negligence apportionment at 50%
As to res ipsa loquitur: ‘there is, as it seems to me, an inherent difficulty where an allegation is made against two separate authorities each under different and separate duties in respect of different installations in saying that because water collected on the highway that is indicative of a failure of each of them to carry out their public duty. I have always understood that in order to show that the maxim res ipsa loquitur applies it is necessary for it to be shown that the event upon which reliance is placed was first of all more consistent with the failure to carry out a duty or to take care on the part of the defendant, and secondly that it pointed to a particular defendant as having been at fault, and that if all that was shown was that one of a number of persons might have been responsible then the maxim had no application, for it could not be shown that the event was under the exclusive control of the defendant alleged to be liable.’
Stocker, Beldam LJJ
[1992] EWCA Civ 22
Control of Pollution Act 1974 22
England and Wales
CitedBurgess v Northwich Local Board 1880
In the context of the duty of a local parish to maintain a highway, Lindley J said: ‘An occasional flooding, even if it temporarily renders a highway impassable, is not sufficient to sustain an indictment for non-repair.’
Counsel accepted . .
CitedBurnside v Emerson CA 1968
A car crashed as a result of running into a pool of storm-water lying across the road. The pool had been caused by the authority’s failure properly to maintain the drainage system, which had become blocked.
Held: The claim succeeded. Diplock . .
CitedHaydon v Kent County Council CA 1978
Impacted snow and ice had built up on a steep, narrow, made-up footpath from Monday to Thursday during a short wintry spell. The plaintiff slipped and broke her ankle. The highway authority operated a system of priorities. Their resources were fully . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 13 October 2021; Ref: scu.653365